Magazine article Newsweek International

Get Tough on Pakistan

Magazine article Newsweek International

Get Tough on Pakistan

Article excerpt

Byline: Sumit Ganguly

Its Army is fighting against peace.

Yet another attempt to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan came to a screeching halt in mid-July in Islamabad. At a press conference devoid of the usual diplomatic niceties, the normally urbane and courteous Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi compared remarks made by the Indian home secretary to the invectives hurled by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist outfit behind the bloody 2008 assault on Mumbai. That bitter comment scuttled the talks, suggesting to Indian officials that Pakistan had no interest in making headway on issues such as dealing with India's accusations about Pakistani complicity with terror and the demilitarization of a contested glacier in Kashmir.

Sadly, Qureshi was diverting attention from the real issue: that the Pakistani military remains the biggest ob-stacle to regional peace. At bottom, it does not want peace because it would undermine its extraordinary position of privilege within Pakistan's political order. Instead, it has fixated on the nation's dispute with India over Kashmir and castigates India for being a destabilizing force. As recently as January, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani stated that India is the principal security threat facing Pakistan. To counter this perceived threat--and bolster its power--the military has waged an asymmetric war strategy against India, supporting jihadi organizations with training, weaponry, and sanctuaries within Pakistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

This intransigence is more than a bilateral issue between warring states. Several of the jihadi groups it spawned and nurtured, especially the Lashkar-e-Taiba, are no longer content with attacking Indian security forces and civilians. They are now aiming at American and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan. At the same time, the Pakistan Army's links with the Afghan Taliban suggest to the U.S. that it is only a partial ally, not a dependable partner in Afghanistan. Consequently, Washington cannot continue merely to urge Pakistan to rein in these forces while it also doles out funds to Islamabad, as Hillary Clinton did last week. …

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